Awesome Men Throughout History: Puddles the Clown

When a friend of mine told me that a 7-foot-tall clown was covering Lorde songs on the Internet, my curiosity was piqued. I do love clowns, after all. When that same friend told me that this clown sounded like Tom Jones, I felt sure that he was pulling my leg. Amazingly, he was not.

Yes, Puddles the Clown has become something of an Internet sensation thanks to his appearances with Postmodern Jukebox, and it’s only fitting that a huge man becomes a huge hit. Clearly, he deserves to be an Awesome Man Throughout (Recent) History.

Puddles may or may not be the alter ego of Mike Grier, a very tall baritone singer and band leader in Atlanta who got started as the frontman for a swing band called the Useless Playboys and is currently fronting a band called Kingsized. One cannot help but notice the similarities.

Puddles is a great act, though. Known for barnstorming Atlanta bars to croon out hits, he almost never speaks, and glares sternly at the audience as he fusses with his props (usually a lantern and a suitcase with his band’s website written on it). He never breaks character, not even for the Postmodern Jukebox sessions, and he only sings sad songs. If he lands on a song that isn’t sad, he might just start crying and storm out.

Ultimately though, Puddles has the chops to turn what would otherwise be a funny-but-cheap gimmick into a satisfying stage performance. When he does sing, he delivers in a warm and powerful voice that cuts through whatever lingering cynicism or coulrophobia the audience may have. It’s the kind of voice that forces you to pay attention. It has its own charm, entirely separate from the person it’s coming from.

I mean, look what he did for Lorde’s songs. The lyrics aren’t half-bad when they’re sung with some gusto and actual human feeling, as opposed to Lorde’s indifferent teenage monotone.

Puddles’ band, the Pity Party, has played outside of Atlanta before, and I hope they eventually find their way up here. A sad clown’s touring musical revue is something I need to see at least once in my life.

Here’s a fun TV interview with Puddles, in which some hipster beardo does all the talking, and I’ll link the website for Puddles’ Pity Party, too.

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About Dave Kiefaber Dave Kiefaber is a Baltimore-based writer who regularly contributes to Adfreak and the Gettysburg Times. His personal website is at www.beeohdee.blogspot.com.

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